What Obama secretly believes

James Kirchick has a very interesting article in the Sunday Post. Since declaring himself as a candidate for President, Barack Obama has consistently stated that he opposes gay marriage. Yet it is practically an article of faith among liberals that Obama secretly supports gay marriage, but says the opposite for political reasons. James writes,

I’ve lost track of the number of liberal friends and acquaintances, gay and straight alike, who assure me that Obama “really” supports same-sex marriage and, furthermore, that this point is obvious…This is convenient for liberals because it allows them to deflect blame from politicians they like onto those they don’t, namely conservatives, the sincerity of whose opposition to same-sex marriage they never challenge.

It’s interesting that liberals give their elected officials a pass on this issue. In contrast, liberal activists have relentlessly criticized Democratic politicians who secretly opposed the invasion of Iraq but chose to go along with the war for political reasons.

Consider a second analogy. What if liberal politicians secretly opposed discrimination against an ethnic or racial minority, but said otherwise in public to protect themselves? That would be unconscionable. Opposition to racism is an issue where we expect politicians to follow their convictions regardless of the cost.

Yet how often do advocates of gay rights insist their struggle is the civil rights movement of the 21st century? As the name of the Human Rights Campaign indicates, gay rights activists see their struggle as no different from campaigns against racism and oppression.

As both a Republican and an advocate of equal rights, I have mixed emotions about all of this. Like James, I agree that denying one’s convictions speaks very poorly of any elected official. On the other hand, if the gay community knows that Barack Obama is on their side, why should he incur the political costs of actually saying so? Important strides toward equality are being made all the time. Younger Americans favor equality in much greater numbers than their parents.

Here’s one point I take away from all of this: If discrimination against gays and lesbians really were as bad as discrimination against blacks in the 1960s, gays and lesbians wouldn’t be nearly as forgiving of Obama or any other politician who kept his support for equality a secret.

And one final point about regarding Obama’s secret beliefs: In his heart of hearts, he never, ever would have chosen to drink Bud Light. It doesn’t go well with arugula.

Cross-posted at Conventional Folly